At the same time, Palestinian officials decided to put off a decision on how to respond to the death of Ziad Abu Ein, but warned that all options were on the table, including freezing vital security cooperation with Israel
The funeral for Abu Ein is scheduled for Thursday in the West Bank and Israeli military officials fear it could break out into widespread protests and rioting.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to respond to what he called the “brutal assault” on Abu Ein and summoned an emergency session of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, amid speculation he could suspend longstanding security cooperation between the PA and Israel.
Abu Ein, who headed the PA government agency that lobbies against the security barrier and settlements, took part in a protest near Turmusaya, south of the Shiloh settlement in the northern West Bank. The demonstration later deteriorated into a scuffle with Israeli troops, during which Abu Ein inhaled tear gas and was hit by a soldier’s rifle butt, Palestinian witnesses said. An Israeli witness, however, claimed the Palestinian official had not been struck with the gun.
Abu Ein, 55, collapsed at the site and was evacuated by ambulance, but he died before reaching the hospital.